WWF SummerSlam Fever 1990
by Scrooge McSuck
- Time for another trip down memory lane. The warm-up show before the 1990 (or 3rd Annual) edition of SummerSlam, it's a special episode of PrimeTime Wrestling. All the matches either feature a superstar from the card squashing a jobber, or a feature match between some midcarders that no one cares about.
- Hosts for most of the show are Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan, unless otherwise noted. Weird not to have Heenan with Monsoon (they still hosted PrimeTime together, I think), but at least it isn't Lord Alfred Hayes or Sean Mooney to really crank it up. Imagine a PBP team of Hayes, Mooney, and McMahon. Now try and get to sleep without crying.
1. Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart vs. Smash of Demolition:
It's the time honored tradition of "half of the tag title match for the PPV" match. Before the match, we see highlights of the Demolition/Rockers match from the latest Saturday Night's Main Event. Bobby Heenan says this was supposed to be Bret Hart taking on Smash, but who knows what happend there, and really, who cares? I'd rather Neidhart do the job for Smash than Bret. I won't go into great detail with PBP, since most of the matches on this show doesn't really warrant them. Basic punchy-kicky "power man" match, which is a nice way of saying "this match blows." The most spectacular offense is Neidhart managing to not fuck up a sunset flip back into the ring... and that's the finish, too, as Smash blocks it and hangs onto the ropes for leverage to get the three count at 6:09. Jim Neidhart, showing his true colors of being a thief, brains Smash after the match and steals his half (or third) of the Tag Titles... until the rest of Demolition (Ax AND Crush, remember) come out and beat the tar out of him for it. He had it coming, says I. (1/2*)
After the match, all three Demolition members join Gene Okerlund on that little elevated ramp place for a special interview. Get used to me saying this, because there's a ton of them on this show. They don't say much of note, but Crush shows he obviously isn't ready for PrimeTime.
2. "The Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich vs. Black Bart:
Squash match, although some might recognize Black Bart as a token midcarder for various promotions when Territories still existed. Von Erich had only been in the WWF for roughly a month at this point, and was quite literallty thrusted into a feud over the Intercontinental Title about a week before this show, back when title matches were announced months ahead of time for the PPV's. Typical match to showcase Von Erich's offense, picking up the duke following the Claw/Discuss Punch combination at 2:40. Not going to bother rating the squashes.
- Another very special Interview with Intercontinental Champion Mr. Perfect and his Perfect Manager, Bobby Heenan. Threats are made at Von Erich, of course. Nothing to write home about.
3. The Warlord (w/ Slick) vs. Pez Whatley:
For an explanation on Whatley, see Black Bart. Like Von Erich, the Warlord was shoved into a spot on the SummerSlam card at the last minute, replacing Rick Martel in his match against Tito Santana. No idea why they chose the Warlord as a replacement. Sometime around May, the Warlord ditched his Powers of Pain gear in favor of the silver half-helmet mask and pitch fork thing prop. Whatley gets some token offense... yes, he does a headbutt, but the Warlord no-sells it all and finishes him off with a running powerslam at 2:55. Always thought it was interesting they gave up that move for a Full Nelson. Seemed more impressive and entertaining to me.
- Highlights of the vignettes featuring Rick Rude, training for the match with Warrior. We get to see him punching a speed bag, climbing ropes, and sprinting on the beach. All of this would be cool if he were training for an Iron man match, but not a CAGE match. With Warrior. That lasted all of 9-minutes.
- The Warrior comes out for our next special interview, and he's so special, he's got little Warrior symbols painted on his cheeks rather than the full facial. Talk about an odd choice. He rambles a lot about whatever the fuck he's trying to say.
4. Nikolai Volkoff vs. Boris Zhukov:
At WrestleMania V, the Mega Powers exploded. At WrestleMania VI, it was the Twin Towers. At the SummerSlam Fever Special, the Bolsheviks explode! But first, let's take a look back at the transformation Nikolai Volkoff has made since turning on his home land. On the Brother Love Show, Jim Duggan gives Volkoff not only his seal of approval, but an American Flag to wave as his own. Fast-forward a week or so later, where Volkoff is presented the purple heart or whatever by a bunch of boy scouts that Mel Phillips touched before the show was taped. With that all out of the way, the match is over just as fast. Nothing but punch-and-kick. Volkoff connects with a crappy atomic drop, whips Zhukov to the corner, and lands a clothesline to the back of the head for the three count at 2:38. This could've passed as another squash match, had it not actually been a storyline featured on national television. (DUD)
- Another special interview, now with the Macho King Randy Savage and the Sensational Queen Sherri. For whatever reason, Sherri has her face painted like a cat, and acts pretty freaky while Savage cuts his usual "Dusty Rhodes is a filthy commoner" promo. 1990 wasn't an out-standing year for Randy Savage, me thinks.
- Let's take you back to last weeks episode of Superstars of Wrestling. Tugboat was wrestling Jobber and future cat-mask wearer Bob Bradley, when Dino Bravo and Earthquake ran in and beat the ever loving shit out of his life-boat using ass, effectively taking him out of SummerSlam as the corner-man for Hulk Hogan. What happens now?!
- A VERY Special episode of the Brother Love Show, conducted in the middle of the ring. This weeks guests are Hulk Hogan and Earthquake... but Earthquake doesn't feel like showing up, so it's Jimmy Hart coming out instead. If you've never seen a Brother Love Episode with Hogan and random manager, you still should know what happens. For shits and giggles, I'll let the mystery remain and skip to the next segment.
5. Power & Glory (w/ Slick) vs. Mark Young & Mike Williams:
More squash action fun! Power & Glory are getting ready for a match with the Rockers, so here's a couple of scrubs to fill the void for now. I never understood why Paul Roma and Hercules were thrown into a team together. Anyway, it's another match where the superstars showcase their signature stuff in between not-selling token jobber offense and canned reactions going wild. Williams ends up playing the fall guy, taking the Power-Plex for the three count at 2:37. It's not exactly the flashiest move, but I always thought the Power-Plex was a kick ass move when Roma made the splash look good.
- Even More Special Interview time... it's Sweet Sapphire, and she's been getting some extravagent presents from an unnamed admirer for some time now. No Dusty Rhodes, so Sapphire gets to dance with Gene Okerlund instead.
6. Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs. Iron Mike Sharpe:
Speaking of 1990 being a bad year, Jake Roberts run as a babyface was reaching critical points of boredom in my eyes. He hadn't really done anything of serious note, was stuck in a rather lamely thrown together feud with Bad News that never went anywhere, and just lacked intensity. The match, even for a squash, is painfully boring. Roberts does his stuff... and that's all I can say. The short-arm clothesline and DDT end Sharpe's afternoon/night at 2:39. I hit fast forward, not caring enough to know wether or not they show Roberts letting the snake out of its bag.
- Bad News Brown cuts a promo about his hundred pound Sewer Rats. Nothing is shown, and the one time I've actually "seen" them they looked like a bunch of fake over-sized possums.
7. Non-Title Match: "Rugged" Ronnie Garvin vs. Mr. Perfect (w/ Bobby Heenan):
I keep forgetting Garvin was still hanging around at this point. He wasn't exactly making frequent appearences in notable roles since before WrestleMania VI. McMahon is going solo on commentary, for the obvious reason of Heenan being at ringside. Garvin puts up a good fight considering his shunning way down the card, but his style just never feels right with what the WWF was producing at the time. He brought a no-nonense wrestler character around while everyone else had a crazy or flashy gimmick. Anyway, decent match for the most part, but pretty short. Garvin mounts a minor comeback toward the end, but Hennig surprises him with the Perfect-Plex for the three count at 5:56. Match of the night, as if that ever actually matters on shows like this. Watch out Kerry Von Erich, here comes Mr. Perfect! (**1/4)
- Even more special Interviews! It's Dino Bravo and Jimmy Hart. I don't care about these anymore. Let's just fake through this and say they bad-mouthed Hulk Hogan and Tugboat.
8. The Orient Express (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Shane Douglas & Sonny Blaze:
This is the Sato and Tanaka version of the Express, and they're getting ready for Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff at SummerSlam. Sonny Blaze is of no relation to either Sonya Blade or Johnny Cage. Shane Douglas is pulling the Jim Powers Special... a name that's thrown into a tag team with a scrub, gets about 30-seconds to show his stuff, then stands on the apron and watch his partner get mauled. Before the match, McMahon actually makes reference to FUJI VICE! Dated for the fact Miami Vice was already off the air at this point. I already described the match for ya'. Blaze takes an ass-kicking and Sato finishes him off with the sit-out powerbomb/Ligerbomb at 2:08.
9. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Earthquake (w/ Jimmy Hart):
I thought this show would never come to an end. Here's a feud that went nowhere. There was an angle set up at WrestleMania VI to feature Duggan/Quake at house shows I think, and from what I remember, that whole situation seemed to have disappeared from history once Quake dropped ass on the Hulkster. As far as "Feature" matches go, I would rate this a B-. Earthquake was a top heel, but Duggan was in midcard limbo, and so there's no secret that Quake ain't doing a pinfall job anytime soon. Before the match begins, the referee throws Dino Bravo from ringside, because it would be easier to run in when you come from the locker room. Another boring punch-fest that also features Quake's usual offense of sitting on the opponents face in the corner, but it's kept short, as Dino Bravo runs in to lay a shit kicking on Duggan, drawing the Disqualification bell at 6:20. This time, Hulk Hogan manages to save his friends, chasing off the bad guys with Duggan's 2x4. After the match, Hogan does his usual pose-down, and Quake and Bravo yell backstage for their plan backfiring. (1/2*)
Not one of the best outings for these specials. None of the feature matches really stood out as eye popping (Garvin/Perfect was average, the rest sucked), and the long parade of squash matches and interviews just made the show drag ass. Fine for nostalgic moments, but otherwise not a recommended show to track down, unless you're a loser like me that has nothing better to waste his money on.